Irish sportsbook William Hill has announced its Nobody Harmed by Gambling campaign aimed to tackle the issue of problem gambling in the United Kingdom.
William Hill is taking action to combat the increasing number of problem gamblers in the United Kingdom. The Irish sportsbook has announced its Nobody Harmed by Gambling campaign aimed toward promoting responsible wagering and tackling problem gambling.
The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) defines problem gambling as gambling-related behavior which causes harm to the player and to those around him. A recent study by the UKGC reported that almost 5 percent of the respondents identified themselves as problem and at-risk gamblers.
William Hill claims that its products cover two-thirds of the British gambling market, which involves remote casino games, and both remote and non-remote betting. With that in mind, the betting company believes that its efforts to help problem gamblers can reach a wider audience.
Lyndsay Wright, director of strategy and sustainability at William Hill, said:
“We’re one of the largest bookmakers in the UK – and there’s a responsibility that goes with that. We can, and we must, tackle harm from gambling. This isn’t going to be a smooth ride. There will be bumps along the road. We will be criticised and some of that criticism will be fair. But we believe that it’s only by setting out with a bold ambition that we’ll start to see that change we want – and to have a positive impact on people’s lives.”
Philip Bowcock, CEO at William Hill, added:
“We have not taken seriously enough the challenge of problem gambling. For too long, we’ve talked about individual responsibility and small proportions of adults who experience problems. Every type of gambling product has the potential to cause harm to our customers. That is something we have to recognise and that harm is something we need to face into.”
The bookie stated that it wants to make sure gambling can be an entertaining activity to its patrons. In addition, the company believes that its continuity lies on players enjoying gambling with William Hill. With this in mind, the sportsbook’s campaign looks for solutions to make sure that the players of William Hill-affiliated games and beyond gamble responsibly.
Problem Gamblers in the UK
Gamblers in the UK amount to 35.5 million in 2017, according to data presented by William Hill. The number includes players participating in state-franchised UK’s National Lottery. In Britain alone, two million are at risk of problem gambling and 430,000 are already problem gamblers.
The statistics also showed that male bettors are 10 times more at risk of becoming problem gamblers than women. In addition, 16 to 24-year-olds are twice more susceptible to gambling-related problems compared with all other age groups. The data sheet maintained that problem gambling is a consequence of different factors, including emotional vulnerability, game accessibility and constraints, product features, and game rewards, among others.
William Hill drove the point that problem gambling harms the players involved, both mentally and physically. The study showed that problem gamblers are twice more likely to have been involved in an exchange of blows than regular bettors. In addition, problem gamblers are four times more likely to think of suicidal thoughts. Around 60 percent of them suffered depression because of gambling. A similar percentage also reported they missed work just to continue gambling. The betting operator added that every suffering problem gambler negatively affects six people around him.
Tackling the Gambling Problem
William Hill covered around 59 percent of the entire gambling market in the UK last 2017. The company believes that it “can make a real impact” in finding answers that will help solve issues related to problem gambling. According to the Nobody Harmed by Gambling campaign, the betting company will adopt a strategy that will tackle problem gambling and will protect at-risk and regular players from gambling-related harms.
As part of the strategy, William Hill will modify how it advertises its products and services. In addition, it will provide improved voluntary bet limits to all consumers. These steps are focused on all of its customers as the company believes anyone can be at risk to experience gambling-related problems.
Next, the company will add new useful ways to identify at-risk players using data. With this, the betting operator could quickly recognize problematic gambling behavior and intervene immediately before they become problem gamblers.
The sportsbook will also look to gather help from advocates of responsible gaming to further improve how it would assist problem gamblers. Admitting that it cannot tackle the problem alone, William Hill promised to provide £1.5 million in funding for research of gambling-related harm and treatment of problem gamblers.
Moreover, the betting company has begun training its employees to better communicate with at-risk and problem gamblers. William Hill started working in 2015 with gambling support service Betknowmore UK to train the former’s customers in handling high-risk customers. After a pilot in-person training showed favorable results, William Hill plans to implement the orientation to a larger number of its employees.
An anonymous test participant, as quoted by William Hill, said:
“[William Hill’s] approach doesn’t just look at the gambling problem, it looks at why people have got a gambling problem. It recognizes that sometimes it isn’t a case of stopping [people gambling] altogether, but it’s a case of helping them control it, and it seems like they respond to people who need the help a lot quicker.”
William Hill also plans to convene relevant parties to an event which will discuss ways to tackle the problem of gambling-related harm. Once the company finds a working idea from a number of suggestions, the company will scale the idea up across its different businesses. At the same time, William Hill will continuously report the development of the idea—its pros and cons—to further supplement other related efforts in helping problem gamblers.
| Related: William Hill Casino Review